The Delhi High Court issued notice on a plea challenging the tender condition formulated by the Delhi Government while inviting bids for the mid-day meal by organizations having an average annual turnover of Rs 10 crore.
The division bench of Justice Vipin Sanghi and Justice Rekha Palli noted,
“We have no doubt that your objective of social service may not have lost but your children, eating this, is not the situation today.”
Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves appearing for the petitioner submitted that the petitioner are eight Self-Help Groups, each group consisting 10 to 20 individuals who are the mothers of the children providing hot cooked food and ration to the school-going children since 2006.
It was further contended that the companies are coming with packaged food entering into contract as the eligibility clause of Rs 10 crore has been introduced, Delhi Government is trying to buck the trend. Whereas, with this Mahila Mandals are completely excluded, large companies began to grab all the government contracts.
Gonsalves submitted that a divisional bench of this Court in its order removed the minimum threshold of Rs 3 crore turnover for supplying mid-day meal which in my case is Rs 10 crore.
However, Justice Sanghi asked the petitioner that what was your turnover for these years, to which Gonsalves answered Rs 4 crore, that too for 8 Self-Help Groups that comes to Rs 50 lakh turnover each.
Justice Sanghi further enquired, since 2006 your children must have grown? Gonsalves said the children keep changing year by year. Justice Sanghi stated,
“Your kids are not studying in these schools, your objective is more of a commercial service, we have no doubt that your objective of social service may not have been lost but your children, eating this, is not the situation today.”
“Self-Help Groups consist of parents whose family and children are interested, parents who have direct interest, mothers of the children who are actually studying, 15 years ago your children passed out,” Justice Sanghi added.
Whereas, Gonsalves said that he would seek instructions regarding the same and inform the bench further that how the leadership has changed in the past years.
However, Justice Sanghi asked the counsel appearing for the respondents that what is the motive of keeping the bar so high.
To which, the counsel for the Delhi Government submitted that earlier our motive was to strengthen Self-Help Groups but they have failed to stand on their own, for the 13 years they have failed.
The bench has listed the matter for further hearing on February 1.